No one will mistake next year's tight end for Heath Miller.
Tall, lanky and deep-speed fast, Ladarius Green is the Pittsburgh Steelers' newest tight end. The soon-to-be 26-year-old agreed with the Steelers to a four-year contract for $20 million, according to the Houston Chronicle. The deal includes a signing bonus of $4.75 million.
The signing comes on the heels of a three-year deal reached with guard Ramon Foster. The two moves plugged holes on the offensive side of the ball and positions the Steelers to delve fully into a draft rich in defensive prospects.
Green, who turns 26 on May 29, has spent his four-year NFL career in San Diego, where he caught 77 passes for 1,087 yards and seven touchdowns.
Last season was his best with 37 catches for 429 yards and four touchdowns. He caught five passes for 50 yards in the Steelers' win over the Chargers on October 12. Before the game, Mike Tomlin said the following of Green:
"Ladarius Green is a talented and vertical-threat-like tight end. He is an oversized wide receiver. He is adept at getting up the field. He has logged a lot of quality reps here in the first four weeks of the season and he has built a nice rapport with (Philip) Rivers. I would imagine that would continue even as (Antonio) Gates comes back, and I would imagine their two tight end set is going to be one that we have to contend with. "
Green came out of Louisiana-Lafayette in 2012 as a fourth-round pick. He measured 6-5 3/4, 238 at the Combine with long 34 5/8 inch arms. He ran a 4.53 40 with 16 bench reps and a 34 1/2-inch vertical jump.
Green caught 149 passes for 2,201 yards and 22 touchdowns as a four-year starter in college. He was praised before the draft for his soft hands and deep speed, and also drew the following notes in the 2012 Pro Football Weekly draft preview guide:
* "Tendonitis in knees."
* "Hard-working and football-smart."
* "Weak blocker (needs an angle)."
* "Solid citizen -- mature, humble and dependable."
The Steelers were thin at tight end following Miller's retirement. Green joins a group that includes Matt Spaeth, Jesse James and practice-squad player Xavier Grimble. They might also receive depth from Will Johnson, who remains a free agent.